Benign Hypertension is a term used to distinguish the condition from the more aggressive and severe malignant hypertension. It is usually diagnosed when there are elevated blood pressure levels for a long period, which may be progressing at a very slow pace, and so any damage being caused may take many years to develop.
If blood pressure levels of someone with benign hypertension shoot up, then it can be referred to as going into a “malignant phase".
The numbers of people with high blood pressure is on the rise with, it is estimated, about a third of all people in the US having the condition. And a third again are thought to be people with undiagnosed high blood pressure.
Of those who have been diagnosed, about 50% of them are believed to be not taking the prescription medication given to them by their doctor correctly. This is a major concern as not taking medication as prescribed is the biggest risk factor in a person suffering from malignant hypertension, which is a life threatening condition.
Most people who are diagnosed with high blood pressure are able to take steps to bring the levels to normal after some changes to lifestyle, diet, exercise regime and potentially medication. And if this is done early enough they can reduce the risk of complications like stroke, heart attacks and kidney problems.
It is understandable that there are so many people who have not been diagnosed witth this potentially deadly condition. There are either no symptoms, or there are potentially mild symptoms like headaches and nausea, which could easily be confused for other problems or dismissed.
This is why it's called the silent killer, and is considered as one of the most important conditions to educate people on.
The risks of high blood pressure are increased by certain genetic factors, medical factors and lifestyle choices, and it is predominantly the lifestyle choices that we are making that seem to be increasing the numbers of people diagnosed each year.
As more countries embrace the “westernized" lifestyle, including the high fat, high sodium, highly processed diet, the less active jobs and increased stress, it is believed the numbers of people with hypertension will increase dramatically.
One estimate is that the number of people with high blood pressure with reach 1.56billion by 2025, causing a huge burden on many of the health services around the world.
There is a very simple way to check if a person has high blood pressure, a 2-minute process, which can literally make the difference between life and death. Having regular checkups should be a regular activity, especially if there is a family history of hypertension, a person has had kidney or cardiovascular problems, or if they are overweight, with a poor diet and are aged over 35.
Although the phrase “benign" when referring to benign hypertension, seems to suggest that it will not cause problems. This is definitely not the case. If this is the diagnosis a person has received, then they should immediately seek to reduce their blood pressure levels, as every moment that blood pressure is elevated it increases the chance of complications.
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